In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean
AUTHOR/EDITOR: Susan Casey
INFO: Hardcover, Non-Fiction, 326 pages
PUBLISHED: Doubleday, 2010
HOW'D I GET IT: Received from Publisher for Review
FROM GOODREADS: From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.
For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.
As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100 foot wave.
In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.
Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.
MY TAKE: I really wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book. I didn't know if I was getting a science manual, a photo book or a surfing journal. To my surprise and joy, it is a fabulous combination of all three plus more.
Susan Casey is a master of the description. She vividly paints pictures with her words and terrifies and spellbinds us with those mental images. The photography that is showcased in the book just reinforces the author's words. In her search of the giant, ship-breaking waves, she comes across more than just the scientific geniuses studying them. She collaborates with the undisputed surfing king of the waves Laird Hamilton. With him at her side, she discovers what it is about these oceanic mysteries that call to the surfers who live to master them. She takes us with her as she travels in search of these unpredictable and unstoppable forces of the sea.
This was a fascinating look into the ocean and the giant waves that live there. I recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the ocean, surfing, and the sheer power of nature.
MY RATING: 3/5
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, The Book Depository, Powell's Books, IndieBound
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